Remember Tower Records? I loved spending time walking through the aisles at this record superstore on Newbury Street in Boston. Of course, back then, it was CDs that everyone had to have.
But with the onset of Napster, and then iTunes, physical music lost its place in the world and Tower Records filed for bankruptcy. In 2006, the record store closed its stores (outside of one property in Tokyo).
No longer can you wait in line for the chance to get an autographed CD by jazz legend Dave Brubeck. Tower Records, like the ice-man, has seen its day come and go.
Or, has it?
Records Make a Comeback in a Digital Music Age
With the onset of Spotify, Pandora and other music apps – we’ve learned to “rent” our music. We can listen to whatever we want on demand. It’s cost efficient, convenient, and saves us space on our book shelves.
But, for some reason, a growing number of Americans, including those who didn’t grow up on records, are craving the retro vinyl.
For the first time since 1986, vinyl records are more profitable than CDs. According to Loudwire Magazine, it’s a trend that has been building over the last several years.
The “Intangible Quality” of a Vinyl Record
Records are something we can touch and feel. As music has migrated online, there’s an increasing number of people who want to hold the real thing in their hands.
It’s interesting because, let’s face it, records have been challenged by everything from 8 tracks, to cassettes, to CDs and now online music. Yet something keeps bringing us back…
I like to think it’s the music itself. It’s nostalgic. The special quality of sound brings us back to a place and time… perhaps holding a record helps us to physically connect with our memories.
I grew up listening to a lot of jazz and I still love it today. I’d say there’s not much that can beat Thelonious Monk’s recording of “Round Midnight” which so brilliantly captures the artist’s syncopated, percussion-style of playing.
Today, while there is no physical presence of Tower Records (though the company reopened online in November 2020), you can still buy vinyl on Amazon, at Tower online, and in increasingly popular used-record stores. My personal favorite store is Mystic Disc, in downtown Mystic, CT, and recently named one of the top 50 stores in the country. Tell the owner, Dan Curland, I sent you…
So, here’s a weekend idea…
Take a drive to a local record shop. Just pouring through the albums on display will bring back memories and give you a new connection to THE Past.
Here are a couple record player ideas to get you started:
This vinyl record player has a blue tooth set-up… bringing you right into 2021. It has a set of built-in stereo speakers and you can connect to external speakers for better or louder sound. At $60, it’s a great way to spruce up a room and help you connect to the music you most love.
2. If you’re looking for some extra speakers to go with your turntable. This record player is an excellent option. It’s also got a sleek design with a warm wood tone and, like the first option, has all the latest bells and whistles including blue tooth technology.
3. Don’t forget the Records Themselves. As a mentioned, Thelonious Monk’s Round Midnight is a classic and, this version below is a collector’s edition…but, there are plenty of genres and plenty of options from which to choose. Happy Listening.